Metz hold Lille
FC Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja was in inspired form as he earned his team a fine goalless draw at LOSC Lille on Saturday to move out of the relegation zone.
LOSC 0-0 FC Metz
LOSC had picked up just two points away from home and had seen their UEFA Champions League ambitions collapse in Valencia on Tuesday, but at their Stade Pierre Mauroy home, they were unbeaten and only Nîmes Olympique had taken any points off them in six league matches there.
Jose Fonte — part of a back four as Christophe Galtier made a tactical switch — fired goalwards but straight at Oukidja in the early stages (6') before Jonathan Bamba wasted a good opening by shooting well wide of the target having been teed up by Victor Osimhen (15').
Oukidja then brilliantly tipped away John Boye's header that was destined for the top corner of his own goal (33') before Jonathan Ikoné, back in the starting XI after missing the Valencia game following a minor car crash, emulated Bamba by failing to hit the target after a searing run past three defenders (35').
Osimhen had scored his side's goal — his first away from home — in Spain on Tuesday, and caused the Metz defence untold problems with his aggressive battling and incessant harrying. He also brought a save from Oukidja with a crisp half-volley as LOSC sought an opening (39').
Zeki Celik (54') and Fonte (59') both had half-opportunities early in the second half, before Oukidja's anticipation meant he was almost on top of Osimhen when the Nigeria international forward swivelled to volley Benjamin André's knockdown goalwards (62').
Oukidja then palmed out an Osimhen header (83'), gathered a Gabriel header (84') and saw substitute Xeka shoot over when well positioned (90+3') to earn a Metz — who started the game second-from-bottom — a point that lifts them out of the bottom three while LOSC move into third ahead of Sunday's games.
THE PLAYER: Alexandre Oukidja
The former LOSC youth academy man came back to haunt the club where he never managed to establish himself in the first team. The Algeria international was in sparkling form as he became the first opposing goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the Stade Pierre Mauroy this season.
THE STAT: 0
LOSC are yet to be behind at half-time of a league game this season.